Speech to Signing of NDIS Western Sydney MoU
Panthers Club, Penrith
19 May 2015
Well thank you so much, Fiona. It is wonderful to be here with so many people I know, to acknowledge and celebrate another step on the road to ensuring Australians with disability get the better deal that they deserve.
And it is appropriate that we are doing it here in Penrith because as Fiona always tells me, Penrith is the centre of the known universe. So there couldn’t be a better place to be.
Could I also acknowledge Louise Markus, one of my outstanding colleagues in the federal parliamentary party, who along with Fiona is a passionate advocate for people with disability.
John Ajaka, my partner in the NDIS in New South Wales, it is just an absolute pleasure to work with you, John.
And David Bowen, maybe not the hardest working man in showbiz, but the hardest working man in social policy. Who I think gets very little sleep such is the magnitude of the task that he has.
It was probably about this time last year, I was at the Nepean Disability Expo with Fiona and Louise. It was a fantastic occasion. And what that expo said to me is that this part of Sydney is ready. If any part of Australia is ready, this part of Australia is ready for the rollout of the NDIS.
This is a particularly exciting occasion today because it marks the first steps for the NDIS beyond the existing trial sites. As you probably know we have seven trial sites around the country at the moment with about 11,000 participants in the scheme and ultimately will be ramped up to 460,000 participants at full roll-out in 2018-19. So this is exciting.
We did want to make sure that we learned lessons from trial sites before we move to full national rollout so we could make adjustments before we did that. I am currently in the process of negotiating with my State and Territory counterparts what the arrangements will be for full roll-out beyond the existing trial sites. But Nepean, Hawkesbury, the Blue Mountains, Lithgow, is out there first and as John said, a year ahead of the rest of Australia.
This memorandum of understanding to be signed today will see the rollout of support to 2,000 kids below the age of 18 in this part of Sydney. And it really is testament to the extremely strong commitment of both Tony Abbott and Mike Baird to the NDIS. It is something that is beyond partisanship, it is something that brings people together across the aisle. It does represent, in a sense, I think the Australian Parliament working the way it is meant to, working at its best. So it is a real privilege for me to have the opportunity to be a steward, with John Ajaka, in relation to the rollout of the NDIS. The reason we are here is due to the efforts of Louise, Fiona and Stuart Ayres, at the State level, who said that this part of Sydney was ready.
Can I acknowledge those of you here who are providers and thank you for the work that you have done to date. But also the work that you will be doing to gear up and roll-out the NDIS.
But most importantly of all, can I acknowledge the individuals who will be participants in the NDIS and their families. Everything that we do, those of us who hold ministerial office, those of us who are local members, those of us who work in the NDIS Agency, everything that we do has meaning only to the extent to which the Scheme can support you to meet your goals and objectives. So today is all about you and getting the better deal that you deserve.
Thanks very much.
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